An empirical analysis of enzyme function reporting for experimental reproducibility: Missing/incomplete information in published papers

Biophys Chem. 2018 Nov;242:22-27. doi: 10.1016/j.bpc.2018.08.004. Epub 2018 Aug 24.


A key component of enzyme function experiments is reporting of considerable metadata, to allow other researchers to replicate, interpret properly or use fully the results. This paper evaluates the completeness of enzyme function data reporting for reproducibility. We present a detailed examination of 11 recent papers (and their supplementary material) from two leading journals. We found that in every paper we were not able to collect some critical information necessary to reproduce the enzyme function findings. Study of 100 papers used by the SABIO-RK database confirmed some of the most common omissions: concentration of enzyme or its substrates, identity of counter-ions in buffers. A computer system should be better at preventing such omissions, helping secure the scientific record. Many of the omissions found would be trapped by the currently available version of STRENDA DB.

Keywords: Data quality; Enzyme function; Metadata; Reproducibility; Standardization; Transparency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Enzyme Assays / standards
  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Publishing*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Enzymes